Be Still and know

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Over the last several years I’ve had trouble feeling joy. You know that joy when you are just happy to be alive? The sun feels warmer, the sky is bluer, the bird’s song put a skip in your step kind of joy. So, one day not long ago I started seeking and praying to God for that opportunity to come my way. To make that path clear to me. I knew I needed to make changes in my life, but I wasn’t sure on which path to take. Then out of the blue I was struck with a physical ailment that left me, not overwhelmed, but at peace like I never knew. How could this be, how could this physical pain, that usually sends me into a panic attack for weeks on end, leave me with peace?  

As I struggled through months of physical therapy and the doctors telling me it was just inflammation. I kept going back to the uneasy feeling that I had been struggling with since the previous fall. How do I feel whole, and where is my joy? Something was not adding up with where I was at in my life. I had my hands in so many things, pulling me in so many directions. At one point in time, it was where I needed to be. Yet, right now I knew a change needed to be made. I needed to do something but didn’t know what. Then the same words kept coming to me over and over again, “BE STILL”. What? This cant be! I don’t know how to be still and keep my sanity, my health in check, and my family taken care of! Over the next few months, it came to me again and again, “BE STILL”. Okay, I am going to work on being still.

From there I started slowing down. I cut back on somethings, but found myself digging deeper into others. The peace still did not come. I kept praying, “Lord, please show me and guide me with what you want me to do.” I tried different things, more ministry work and helping others, while still praying and the peace still did not come. Several months had went by and I found myself back in the doctor’s office still in pain. The message was stamped on my body that said, “BE STILL”. Wear and tear and too much use of my dominant, right arm left me in a state of having to slow down. So, from there I still kept pushing forward in prayer asking God to show me what I needed to do. The words, “BE STILL” kept coming to me over and over. This time I started slowing down a little more. I pulled back completely out of many things and concentrated on just a few. I poured my heart and soul into the few things. The peace and joy were getting a little better, but it was still not whole.

With my pain in my shoulder still not getting better, I went back to the doctor again and found that my shoulder was more than just swollen from overuse, but torn this whole time and the only way to help was surgery. As I sat in my car with tears in my eyes, I pleaded with God and asked Him, “what now?” This time I heard, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM YOUR GOD”. Well, I had the be still part started in my mind, and my physical body now was on board without my consent. The next step was to Know that God was my God! How did I do that? So, I started praying again, “Lord, how do I take steps to know, that you are my God?” Over the next few weeks, it became very clear how to know he is God. I had to give it all up! Everything! My hobbies, my business, my work with friends, my church jobs, my worship time, my family time, social media, my food schedule, my sleep schedule, my paint parties, my entire days. From the time I wake up until the time I laid my head down, I had to stop and do nothing but call on his name for my every step. To let him guide my time, my thoughts, my every moment.

You may be asking how I did it, well Gods grace put me into a position where I didn’t have a choice. With surgery on my shoulder of my dominant hand, I could do nothing! Nothing! I sat, and sat, and sat. I had to give it all up and completely rest. What I found was exactly what I needed to be still and know who my God is and what he could do for me. I found rest and peace like no other. I had permission to lay everything down in my life and it was joyful. It took a pressure off of me to conform and be active to a place of rest and total reliance of letting God guide my day. I left it in His hands and He knew exactly what I needed, how much I could handle for the day, and who to bring into my life. I began to trust God in a way I had never trusted before. I no longer felt so much responsibility to work and do for God, but started realizing it was a partnership. It was about me working with Him and letting him be my guide, instead of the pressures of my flesh and the world around me driving me. Yes, I found some happiness with letting my flesh lead the way and making time for God; but when I laid it all down completely, and just stayed still until all the noise of the daily pressures fell away, I found the true meaning of “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”. I found I was overburdened with false responsibility; I was going down a path that no longer served what my spirit needed.

The pressure and judgement that drive us can be so consuming and block out the voice of God in our lives. Have you ever heard of fasting? Well, when I sit back and recall the last year that word came up so many times. I was so busy that I ignored it. I will do that later. I will use that as a last resort. In the end that is exactly what happened. I ended up fasting from all the activities in my life. Some temporary fasting and some permanent while I healed. The only time I have, is time to pray and seek Gods help and guidance. A break from all the noise. A time to quiet the chaos in my mind and pressures of life. Time to just rely and listen to God! That was exactly what I needed. With the noise gone a joy started filling my soul like never before. I can’t remember when I last felt this satisfaction, this peace. Today, I can see how the pressures of this world have driven my actions. It doesn’t mean that I am not still battling my fleshly desires to conform; but I am able to see it more clearly and intercede with a cry out to God. Daily surrender is starting to come more of a habit, and joy and peace or its companions. I don’t know what tomorrow holds or the next week. What I do know is if God is guiding me then it will all be okay!

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: Joel 2:12

God says I am an heir…

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11, 13, 17

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17

To inherit and be an heir. To allot and assign. A recipient, a successor, a beneficiary. These words hold the promise of something to come. Something that will be given.

As an earthly child it means to be given of earthly things, material objects. Given wealth of assets and money. Given of title and position in the family line. These things also hold the promise of something negative. Promises of not being acknowledged at ones passing, as one not worthy of love or acceptance. Left out and not deserving of another’s wealth that would help with financial burdens. Being disregarded like a servant and not counted as one of the family or someone respected and loved. Living under a love that has conditions in order to receive.

Yet, with God we have an inheritance that has no conditions. It is one that is less traditional and full of hope and promise. Promises that have no negative sides. Most exciting is the promise of 2 types of inheritance. Things we obtain when we finish our course and meet the Lord face to face; but also things we will inherit here on earth as believers in God. These things are not material, but spiritual that can affect our lives positively in emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical ways. What a great God we serve! So, what are these things you ask, and how does God see us when we inherit his valuable assets.

God sees us as joint heirs with His son. He sees us as the promised heir. Promises that he guarantees because of His love, fairness, and truth. An inheritance in heavenly places includes Promises of a mansion in heaven that Jesus is preparing for us (John 14:16-18). Promise of reunion with saved loved ones we have already lost from this world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Promise of a life in heaven with no more tears, suffering, or sorrow (Revelations 21:4). Promise of a life in heaven with Him. Promises of rewards for our growth in knowing him and acting it out (Matthew 6:19-20). An inheritance of protection from hell as an eternal resting place. Then he gives us an inheritance as believers on earth. Not that we deserve it, but because of His love for us! He Promises we will have Him, God, as our counselor (Hebrews 6:17). Promise that he will never leave us or forsake us. Promise we can find refuge and strength in Him (Psalm 91). He gave us the seal and promise of the comforter the Holy Spirit( John 14:16-18). He promised to listen to our prayers and do what it best for us (John 14:12-15). He promised an agape love, like we have never known from anyone or anything in this world (John 3:16). He gave us his word, the Bible, as an inheritance to get to know Him better and to have a relationship with him!

God sees us as the promised heirs of all that he has made, all that he has designed, all that he has to give. It is ours and He can’t wait to share it all with us!

God Says I am Adopted…

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:5

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:4-7

To be adopted. For some reason I am struggling to paint this picture today. This is the 3rd draft I have written over many days of praying. So many ways to explain, yet which one is the way the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart. That is not for me to decide, but for him. This is where he led me in my thoughts…

Can you imagine in your mind what it means to be adopted? There are many out there this morning who have been through this process and the joy and struggles it has influenced their lives emotionally, physically, and mentally. For me, I think of the many questions of who wants me? How do I prove myself worthy to be accepted? Am I the right color, sex, personality? Once I am accepted as adequate will I fit in? Will I be cared for, clothed, and taken care of? Will I find safety with my new family? I can’t imagine being in this position. Not many people know this, but I have an adopted sister. My parents adopted her when she was 3 years old. Her great grandmother was raising her and it was more than she could handle and she needed help. After being considered by a couple other families and moved around. My sister came to live and was accepted by my family. The process was long and drawn out. My sister only being 3 didn’t know or understand. She was just in survival mode looking for acceptance and a place to call home.

As sinners lost in this world, I believe that’s how we often feel. I remember before I accepted Christ not just as my savior, but also as the Lord of my life. I was wandering around in survival mode. Looking for acceptance in all the wrong places. Never feeling like I belonged. I was always wondering if I was good enough. Struggling to feel safe. Then I was introduced to this man who did things in an unconventional way. It made me question him and what he stood for, but I also found him to be warmly intriguing. A sense of safety and peace surrounded him; but the most peculiar thing about him was the backward way of his adoption plan.

Instead of me standing in a lineup with other sinners being subjected to judgement and scrutiny, waiting to be chosen. This man was in a lineup with all the avenues of the world. The avenues of what I could be adopted into came in the forms. Relationships, friendships, religion, fame, wealth, community, fads, and social groups. All standing in a line looking bold, beautiful and so enticing with their promises. Then this one small, yet humble person calmly standing and patiently waiting. Every time I accepted one of the other avenues to be adopted in and it don’t work out, I would come back to this line and there he was. Humble, quiet, and peacefully still waiting.

It wasn’t about him choosing me because he would adopt anyone who wanted to be adopted by him. It was about me accepting what he had to offer. His adoption plan wasn’t a temporary one like all the others. It was a permanent one. It was a blind-faith kind of adoption full of love and promise. Yes, it was scary; it was not popular, it was different, it was not as appealing and full of instant gratification as all the other avenues. I needed to feel acceptance now; I didn’t have time to wait. I didn’t want to have to put much effort or time in learning more knowledge about this man, or committing to spending time with him. This is what my body was screaming at me. I had to override that need of “give it to me now” and step into the promise of “slow and steady”. When I accepted the offer that Jesus was giving a whole new world opened up to me. It was in slow motion, but this is what I found.

I found myself adopted into Jesus family. His family was not about singing papers or initiation ceremony. It was a washing and cleansing with blood. Not just any blood, but his blood. The blood of Jesus Christ a free gift. Here I stood as an earthly child covered in the blood of Jesus sacrifice and forgiveness. Blood that was shed freely on the cross had been collected and now used to cover over all souls that accepted and believe in him. This blood is perfect. It wipes away all things negative. No more sin, shame, guilt, ugliness, or scars. All of these things are completely gone and what stands before Him is a child adopted by Jesus and given the same spirit of his son into our hearts. God no longer sees a wanderer looking for a place to belong, but sees his child when he looks at us. Perfect, without blemish. Washed in the power of the blood and part of his family.

Jesus accepted me just as I was no matter who I was, where I came from, what color or sex I was. Most important to me was no matter what I had ever done or what others thought of me this person wanted me. He didn’t just want me; he wanted a relationship with me. He wanted to get to know me. To supply me with all my hearts desires. To love me in a way I had never been loved before. He wanted me to never have to worry about tomorrow, what I was gonna eat next, or whether there would be clothes or a roof over my head. This spirit of his son in my heart let me be forgiven of all my wrong doings and made me clean as the day I was born. God sees his child when he sees me! Oh how blessed and undeserving we are to be given another chance to be born again clean!

God says I am chosen…

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9

When I think of being “chosen” I am brought back to the days of a school yard lineup. During recess a group of us who wanted to play baseball would line up. We would choose 2 people to be captains of a team and from there they would take turns choosing from the rest of the group who they wanted to be on their team. One by one names would be called as the captains picked, who they thought were, the best players first. As I stood in line waiting to be chosen, I would pray not to be last. Because last meant you were not qualified to be on a team. Last meant you were just a body to take up space in the outfield. In the outfield the only action you could count on was the fly balls or ground balls that only required catching, running and throwing. Every opportunity you get to catch a ball was a new chance to prove you belonged in the infield. Once you belonged in the infield you could move up in the lineup. The hopes of being chosen first was closer than before. The “in” crowd where most all the action took place and to feel worthy was the goal. Every missed attempt to catch that ball and get it where it needed to go in a timely manner just proved you still belonged where you were. The outside looking in.

If I was to apply that reasoning to being chosen by God then it brings a sense of sadness. Who am I to be chosen. What do I have to do to be considered worthy of God? Does God pick out who is worthy to be saved and who is not? The fact is chosen means something different in the Biblical sense. Chosen in the Bible sense means elect. Not elected as in voted into office, but elect as part of a group. What group is that you ask? The group who has personally “chosen” themselves to accept, believe, and follow Christ. Once you decide on your own with free choice, you are considered the chosen. Part of the elect group that is a part of Gods family. It isn’t about standing on the sidelines waiting to get chosen, or standing in the outfield waiting to prove you are worthy with the next fly ball that comes your way. Gods elect is anyone who has chosen to enter the field of their own accord. Regardless of who they are, where they came from, and what abilities they have. All of this comes together because you personally chose to enter the field and become a part of the team called THE ELECT. What I love the most about this is the view God has from the owner’s box in the stadium.

As God looks down into the stadium, he sees all the souls that have chosen to enter the field. He sees a group of souls that he adored when they were first designed in their mother’s womb. They entered the field on their own free will to chose Him. The team isn’t there because they were forced or dragged in, but from their own choosing they decided to believe in Him. To trust in the Owner of this team. To live with Him forever. To grow with Him. To learn more about Him. To pursue a personal relationship with Him. To face battles together, not only with The Owner, but with a group of believers with one common purpose and goal. God is looking down on a group of Souls that have left their sinful nature they were born into, to conquer life with Him. You chose Him and He is standing there in the owner’s box with overwhelming joy. Joy in your choice, joy in who you are and who you have chosen to be. Joy in the relationship that will come and grow stronger over time. He sees your future and your hope. He sees someone who he has something in common with. Someone to spend eternity with. He sees a family like He never had before. A family that chose Him! He sees you!!

Who does God say I am?

I am sorry I have been MIA for the last month or so. I’ve been struggling with a lot going on personally that I have been dealing with. Back in August, I started out with a 21-day post of who does God say I am. The more I got digging the more things came to light in my own life. I became foggy headed and not able to focus. When this happens, I know that I need to take a step back and wait on the Lord to direct me. Sometimes I may only have to wait a few hours, or days. This time it took much longer. The Holy Spirit slowly helped me see some truths. So, we are going to start over from the beginning on “Who does God says I am?” or better yet… “God says I am _________”.

When I first started this, I went to Pinterest and printed out a list of who God says I am that had a Bible verse for each word. As I began studying, the Holy Spirit did not speak to me through the verses that were given. The verses didn’t line up to a foundational teaching of Who God says I am, but rather verses that just included those words. It was confusing and left me feeling foggy and confused. I decided to stop blogging and truly take the time to search out this information with guidance from the Holy Spirit. So, if you have your Bible, please take it out and mark this passage so you can return to it and do your own study on it. Ephesians chapter 1.

What most amazed me was that I left this study to look at another I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to and they both intertwined. I did not realize this until I started writing this blog today! God was working in me this whole past 2 months in my study time and I didn’t even know it. God works even when you cannot grasp or understand it. That awe that comes when we see it, is Gods way of showing us He is there and it isn’t just by chance or mistake, but part of his divine plan for us!

Ephesians chapter 1.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Within this chapter we find who we are in Christ. How God sees us “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Whether we are Jewish or gentiles, if you acknowledged your sinful state, believe in him and confess it to the Lord in prayer; then you are sealed.  Once sealed you are then seen as the following…

Blessed, chosen, holy and without blame, adopted, accepted, redemption, forgiven, ability for wisdom and prudence, an heir, predestined, and sealed. As we move forward let’s take a look and break down each word God says about us. We will search the truth in Gods word and find out truly How God sees us. In knowing how God sees us, I pray it will bring you to a place of joy and confidence and silence the doubt we struggle with in our minds every day! Let’s get started!

Clink this link to get started!

God gives us… Joy?

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John15:1-11

Well, I can tell you right now, that joyful is not something my family would say that I am. I don’t even think God is looking at me right now and seeing anything joyful about me! The mundane routine of everyday life often leaves me in a sad state. Conjuring up joy seems to take so much effort and a lot of money these days. Everything cost and the goal to being joyful can only happen outside of my circumstances, or doing things that produce those joyful endorphins, right? What does God see in me that is joyful? Because, I don’t feel it!

Did you know there are 187 verses in the Bible that include the word joy? When reading over each one, I found that 95% of them talked about lifting up our voices with joy. That makes sense to me, because when I am full of joy my first instinct is to sing. My heart is so full that my body just automatically breaks out into song. Not always in tune or with much grace, but it’s almost like I cannot help it. One definition of joy in the Hebrew language means blithesomeness. Say that 3 times real fast. What in the world does blithesomeness mean? Well according to it means to be so lighthearted that you don’t have a care or worry in the world! Wow! What would that be like to not have a care in the world? Most importantly, how can I obtain that?

In Nehemiah there is a verse that keeps coming to my mind when I think about joy. It’s a verse that is sewn into a quilt my sister-in-law made for me. Nehemiah 8:10… for the joy of the Lord is your strength. This definition of joy means to rejoice. The rejoicing of the Lord is my strength. So, if I was to take these two verses and their meaning and put them together, this is what it would say…

To obtain the joy of blithesomeness and not have a care in the world, I need to take time rejoicing in who God is and what he has done for me. In return it will give me strength. It will not just give me strength; it will sustain my strength! God also gives us the promise in Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy (a shrill cry) cometh in the morning. We will have moments of sorrow, moments of dealing with Gods anger over our sin, but as believers in him, we are favored (accepted) and he finds pleasure in us. This pleasure sustains us and carries us to a place of life. Not life on earth, but life in heaven! What I also love about this is the promise that joy always follows sorrow! Always! It may not seem like the sorrow will end or the plucking away of the dead branches in our lives will every cease, but God promises it will!

Am I joyful? Yes, because today I am going to meditate on all that God has done for me, all that he has brought me through and all that he continues to promise to accomplish in me! Mostly I am going to concentrate on the love He has for me and shows me as I wake up everyday to a fresh start! That makes me joyful! And keeping my faith and trust in Him makes Him delight in Me!

He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Psalm 18:19-23

Finding God’s hidden truths on the Farm

Most people know that I live on a farm. Everyday you never know what will transpire. Every animal has its own sort of personality. Babies come in the spring time, new kinds of animals are added occasionally, and mishaps are bound to happen. With mishaps there is usually an animal involved that has a lot of personality or stubbornness. One particular animal comes to my mind and that is Wild Bill. Wild Bill is a fairly new addition to the farm. He is a goat. I have been after my husband to add a goat or two to our farm family to help keep the briars and shrubs down in the sheep pasture, as the sheep are not so fond of them. I was thinking of a couple of pigmy goats. There are small and cute and the grandbaby and neighborhood kids would love them. They could interact with them and pet on them and it would be so great! Then I got a call one day from the hubs and he said, “I found you a goat, we are going to pick him up this weekend.” To say I was tickled to death is an understatement. I just knew that I had lost this battle with my hubs over getting a goat. “I hate goats,” he often would say. “They are nothing but trouble.” Well in my mind, I was thinking of those cute goats at the petting zoo and how friendly and easy going they seem to be and couldn’t see what the fuss was all about. Then we got Bill. Wild Bill that is! On the first day home we kept wild bill in the barn within the sheep pasture. We do this with all our new animals when we first get them home. We put them in a safe space to calm down, relax, and get used to their new environment and get used to us as well. Then once they are calmer, we will turn them out. By then they are just so glad to be out with other animals, they tend to join in without complaint and we don’t have to worry about them running off! But then we have wild bill. Wild bill has a unique personality. You know the one animal that looks at you sideways when he sees you. You wish you could figure out what he is thinking. With every step you make towards him he steps back one. Every now and then you may get close enough to see his eye color, but that is about as close as you will get. But the one thing I did not count on with wild bill, is his fleshly desire for shrubbery. I knew goats liked shrubs, grass, weeds, trees, and everything green. Yet, wild bill has an over zealous desire for shrubs. Not just any kind of shrubs, but the ones that can only be found on the other side of the fence.

Now, I know what you are thinking. I bet wild bill won’t stay in the fence. Well, that is part of it. You see wild bill will partially stay in the fence while the rest of him is outside the fence eating shrubs. To paint a picture for you let me explain it like this. In our sheep pasture we have a woven wire fence that goes all around it. Woven wire is made into small squares. This fence is to keep predators out. To protect the sheep. Well, as the sheep put their heads within those squares often to reach the greener grass on the other side, they have no horns to get stuck and they can do it without issue. When wild bill does it, he gets his head stuck because of his horns and in a fit of wanting to get his head back in the fenced area, he begins to scream and cry with abandoned for help. A cry we hear all day long as we continually over and over again to rescue wild bill from the trap of the fence. On an average day we would have to go out there and get him unstuck 3 to 5 times a day. No matter how much time he spends stuck and how much he agonizes over the situation, he continues to do it again and again. He never learns. So, my genius hubs, who is the farmer and I am just the farmers wife, has a solution to the problem. He takes a blue pipe, and tapes it to wild bills horns and gives him a crown fit for a pasture king. With this crown being wider than the holes in the fence, wild bill can remain stuck free. His internal desires for greener shrubbery become a distant action and his mind concentrates on what is in front of him and not on the other side of the fence. A crown of humility, yet a saving grace! As, wild bill lost his beautiful crown the other day and I raced to free him again and again, it reminded me of my own fleshly desires and what lengths God goes to not only heed my cry, but protect me from making the same choice over and over again.

Just as wild bill has the fleshly desire for things outside of his circumstance, we as human have those same desire. We each have things we desire that are honest and pure, but we each also have things we desire that are not so honest and pure. These things usually are not good for us. They can distract us from our daily lives, pull us in a direction that is away from Gods will for our lives, and keep us from growing in our daily walk with God. Fleshly desires also keep non-believers from choosing to follow Christ. Their desire to stay with what feels good to them often overclouds the rational mind of what it may be doing to their soul. We live in a society now that caters to instant gratification. The standard of this life, as a whole society, is to look down our noses at people who do not accept the desire of the flesh as a guide to live this life. I was born this way, life is not fair, God does not care because he won’t deliver me. All these statements have become excuses for us to live by our desire and not by the rationality of what our desires can do to us. The time has come that we all must acknowledge this and make a choice to stand for something. To stand firm with what we know is true or give in to our fleshly desires.

I struggle everyday with the desire to stay in my dream world or get up and face reality. For years I would spend it in this dream world sleeping my life away. It brought me good endorphins and wrapped me in a fuzzy blanket of blissfulness. Anytime during the day when reality became too hard, I would whisk myself away in my mind to that far away dream land for a moment of bliss. My fleshly desire to not deal with reality and hard times, left me in this constant state of fleshly desire. It became like an addiction to me. Something to always fall back on so I would not have to face the reality of my circumstances. Until one day, I got deeper and deeper that my dream world could not rescue me anymore. You see, that dream world and that fleshly desire can only serve me for a little while. Then the reality of life has to take over at some time and I have to face the choices I have made. I have to accept my life as it is and acknowledge my fleshly desire, and face it head on. With doing this I can change and grow, and learn how to cope with life in a healthy manner that lines up to my core beliefs. When I fail to acknowledge it my heart and mind become overtaken with my desires and resentment, hate, selfishness take over and there is no place for anything else. It becomes a lifestyle that leads away from truth and surrounds me with the blindness of the lies of my desires.

Just as Wild Bill continues to let himself be consumed with his fleshly desires; he has a farmer father that comes to the rescue. He tries to protect him. He places a crown on his head that others deem as inhumane, yet the ultimate goal is for his safety and protection. You too may be one of those that often lets your desires carry you away to places and circumstances that hinder you from growth. You have a heavenly father that may give you a crown, or a thorn in the flesh to keep you from going back to those dark places that will leave you trapped and empty. Are you gonna claim God as not being fair, as not caring, or are you going to see the truth of the matter and humble yourself to admit your fleshly desires?

Its time we each get off the couch, stop making excuses, and get busy growing in our faith. Start reading our Bibles more, get back in church, get back to fellowshipping with other Christians, continue to stand for what is right in Gods eyes and not conform to our own selfishness and fleshly desires! Without this, our children have no hope! So, parents give them a foundation they can stand on that will stand the tests of life. It may be hard at times to follow but, in the end, it will give them a chance to live victoriously and full of hope!

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:16-17

Managing the chaos

I woke up this morning with my brain in a thousand different places. You have seen the quote that says my brain has 15 tabs open, 6 are constantly running, 3 are all about numbers, and the computer screen is foggy and I can’t seem to accomplish any progress. This has been me over the past few months. Another analogy I heard the other night brought me to a better understanding and even my husband could get it. In the back of my brain, with all my clutter and thoughts, is a catalog system. As things happen and I deal with them in my life, I catalog the files to their proper draw. Yet, at this moment I feel as though someone has come along and dumped out a couple drawers and I cannot get those files back in order. Someone being triggers. Triggers with experiencing new pain, trigger of trying 2 new medicines, trigger of not sleeping good, trigger with a troubled relationship, trigger with insecurities, trigger of not being in control. The files in the drawer are dumped out. I am trying to place them back in their proper drawers so that I can get myself together and move forward with the 5 projects I currently have sitting around. Instead, all I can do it focus on the edge of the fog and see housework and chaos with several naps ahead just to get through the day. Day after day, I struggle to cope, struggle to just go with the flow and let the files remain on the floor. All mixed up and no place to call home and be safe. The system is out of order and it’s driving me crazy. Be still, comes to my mind. “Keri, just be still and let me put them back in order,” The small voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me. Yet, the wave of anxiety doesn’t seem to lessen much. Until, one morning a glimpse of clarity breaks through and my next step is so clear. I know what I have to do. This step is easy, but what if the next step is not? What if the next step requires me to do something hard and confrontational? Am I going to do it so I can put that file back in its proper place? Or, am I gonna avoid it and try to cram it in the back of another drawer that it will never fit in?

Sometimes, the way to picking up the pieces it not a glamourous path. The clarity that came was to stop taking the new medicine. They are not working and they are causing more trouble than not. That one was easy. Next file, experiencing new pain. Well, I can either proceed with trying to heal and figure it out, or I can ignore it and see if it goes away. Because this is a big trigger for me, the best move is to try figuring it out. One doctor’s appointment later and physical therapy ahead and that file is on its way to the drawer. Next, is control and relationships. For me, this time, it goes hand in hand. What is bothering me? Why am I so stressed? Why is my peace so hard to find in this relationship? Especially when it has been a safe haven in the past. As I work in trying to decipher what is the beam in my eye versus the splinter in the other, I am faced with a difficult decision ahead. A tough conversation that could either help or hinder this relationship. As I place it back on the floor to pray over it a little longer, to be sure of what I need to do, the next file on the floor catches my attention. The file that says you are not doing enough. This file is right next to another one that says, “phone call asking you to take a new position on a committee to do the Lord’s work”. Then the next card on the floor says, “What about your book? What about your blog? What about your ministry with them?” Before I know it, I am overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. I drop the files back on the ground and I let them linger. Thirty minutes later I try placing them together on the ground to see how they feel together. I place “Not doing enough” with the “Book, blog, committee job” and I become overwhelmed instantly. No matter how I arrange the files they all bring me chaos, confusion, and nothing is back in a drawer safe and neat. Something is wrong with these files. I just cannot put my finger on it. This is where I need help. I need to get a different perspective on these files and make sure I am seeing things clearly. So first, I pray. I pray and ask God for wisdom, for clarity, and for peace to know what to do next. Then, I reach out to my support group peoples and after a long talk with my amazing husband the clarity comes. It all boils down to some tough decisions, opening up a drawer that says no, and dealing with the fact that I have a huge misunderstanding of what serving God looks like. Stuck to the back of the file that says, “Not doing enough” was a file that says, “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” That haunted file that I thought I dealt with long ago, was somehow among the others. The file that should be under false beliefs drawer. The root to all my chaos lingered in that horrible file that tends to creep out over and over again.

My false belief drawer is half way full. As I read and study my Bible and face daily struggles, I work out those false beliefs and I put them in the drawer. The thing is that some of those false beliefs I’ve had for long time seem to slip out. As Satan throws a lot of arrows and triggers my way, he will slowly slip one of those out of that drawer and throw it in the pile as I am not looking. Sometimes those files are just so deeply rooted they have a way of coming out all on their own. But God! Through it all God has a way to deal with those deeply planted beliefs that keep us in chaos. I remember that God is in control and the best way to deal with those deeply rooted beliefs is to face them head on. Every time they come up; I try to remember that it is for my good. God is still working on me. He is the potter and I am the clay. Every false belief that creeps up he continues to keep his hands on me and work me until they come to the surface and those imperfections slowly come out. Then another, and another. He is so patient, and loving and kind. He is in no hurry as we are. He can see the big picture. He already knows what I will become, he just has to keep his hands steady on me to help get through and adjust. Adjust to a new way of thinking. Adjust to a place of acceptance for who I am. Adjust as I keep taking those filing cards on the floor and place them one by one back in their place so I can focus again on the big picture God has for me! The big picture is to hold water. To know that I am washed clean! That no matter how dirty or damaged I am he will restore me one piece, one ripple, or one file at a time.

The file that says “Every sermon, every word, every look, every job, everything is about you!” can be placed in the false belief drawer as I slowly believe that God has an individual plan for me and my family! My husband so clearly stated, “confusion is not what God wants. If it is something he wants you do to then you will have peace about it and not confusion. If it brings confusion then it is not for you! Also, if God has a bigger purpose for you than your family will be lead in that direction also.” That is so true. God would not take me to a place and leave my family behind. The pressure to believe that all these things were about me, my failures, and things I should be doing left my family out! Lastly, I thought, “Who am I to think that everything is about me? Am I that conceded?” The truth was on the outside that’s what it looked like, but it wasn’t so much on the inside. It wasn’t all about me, but with the observation of all the files on the ground, my anxiety was creeping higher as well as my depression. When this happens, I am more sensitive to all things. My major flaw in my personality was creeping up and I take everything as face value with no boundaries. Everything I hear, everything I feel, every challenge that is presented in the pulpit, on the radio, by my loved ones, or in my head, I take upon myself as my responsibility. But what is my responsibility? Where do I put up my boundary?

Galatians 6:5 – For every man shall bear his own burden.

1 Corinthians 3:8 – Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

These verses tell us that we each have different gifts, abilities, and talents, as well as our own burdens. It also says that the one that planteth and the one that watereth are one in the same. It is talking about ministering Gods word. No matter the conviction or responsibility you feel led to concentrate on we each have a job to do. We are to do it to the best of our abilities because they are equally important! Whether its serving the lost, the sick, the anxious, or the well-seasoned Christians. My personal conviction and responsibility is to the believer and helping them to navigate this life and the trials they face. To help them fight the great fight and finish the course, but most importantly to do it while keeping their faith. This is my responsibility, my burden. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving out the non-believer, but all scripture is profitable to Gods kingdom. All concentrations in ministry have the ability to convict, convert, to help those struggling and give them hope!  Because hope is the true message that we all have in common!!

As I place this file of “not doing enough”, and “everything is about me” back in its spot in the false belief drawer, I will take out some brand new 3×5 index card and start a new one to place in my core belief drawer. One that says, “It’s okay to say no.” Another that says, “confusion is not from God.” Another that says, “Teaching God’s hope, no matter in what concentration, is enough!” I can feel the peace fall over me and a little sprig of joy starting to sprout and the day it looking like clear skies ahead. Those other files still on the floor are tough, but with God, I will handle them one at a time and with His help and guidance. It gives me hope to know I will not have to deal with them alone, and no matter how many times those drawers get emptied it is not hopeless. This is life, this is my life, this is my journey! I will embrace it and thank God for one more day and one more opportunity to put the old and the new files in their place until I get to see Him face to face!

How to have assurance in the midst of pain?

One sad reality of this life is the fact we will have some pain. I thought that it was possible to live this life without any pain, and the reality is that no matter how you avoid, convince yourself, and control there will be times in your life that you will have pain. Pain in any sense seems to bring out great fear and anxiety in me.  Emotional pain, physical pain, mental pain, spiritual pain all make me feel alone. The one thing that has brought me such great comfort is the assurance that all pain is temporary and that pain can also bring about great opportunities and extreme personal growth. Yet, there was a time when I was not so sure and the never-ending cycle of pain left me battered and bruised and crying out to God with anger. Why? What have I done to deserve this? Why are you mad at me? Why wont you give me some relief? My body was in constant pain, my family and doctors didn’t believe me, my friends were tired of hearing about it and my pastor could only tell me there was a reason that would reveal itself in time. Yet, I was still alone and my prayers felt like they never reached past the ceiling. Fast forward to today, with some of the same pain, but a different outlook that I would never have hoped for in a million years. Today I have assurance!

Assurance of what you may ask? Well, let’s take a quick look at what assurance is and grow from there. Assurance defined in Hebrew is truth itself. Truth about life, truth about circumstance, but as I sat at church last night, our guest preacher said something about assurance that I had never heard before. He asked himself what did assurance look like? What kind of scenario in life would give us assurance, would give us truth? This got my wheels spinning and I haven’t been able to get past this. I just knew I had to share this with you. He was talking about Paul and what assurance he had, but not just Paul, but Paul’s followers. What assurance did they have that they were gonna be okay and their pain and suffering would not be the end of them. The answer was Paul’s life! Not just Paul’s life, but the life of anyone that has suffered or lived with pain or trying circumstance for extended periods of time; but Paul in particular kept coming back to mind and it led me to this scripture…

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Paul’s was…

  1. whipped 5 times with 40 stripes save one
  2. beaten 3 times with a rod
  3. stoned once
  4. shipwrecked 3 times
  5. lost at sea
  6. in constant journey with no safe place to lay his head
  7. in danger in the water
  8. in danger from robbers
  9. in danger from his own neighbors
  10. in danger from other tribes
  11. in danger in the city
  12. in danger in the wilderness
  13. in danger out at sea
  14. in danger from those who preach opposite to his teachings
  15. often depleted of strength and in great pain
  16. insomnia
  17. hunger and thirst
  18. fasting, going without food or drink
  19. cold and naked
  20. constant living without comfort and things
  21. daily trials that arise
  22. responsibility of the churches

Paul here is giving a tally of what he went through as a disciple of Jesus. Not including his times of arrest and imprisonment and his thorn of the flesh . All while sticking to the course of faith in Christ. If Paul can survive with Gods help, and find glory in his tribulations, then this gives me the truth and assurance that I can also. My pain is not just a heavy yoke of bondage around my neck. My pain is a crown of glory that has the assurance of who’s in charge and who will not let me fall. Time as time again as Paul survived, I also, time and time again have come through many trials. Yet, I have not suffered as much as Paul has and He still kept going. I have the assurance today through Paul’s life and ministry that God will see me through and the truth is that with God all things are possible.

I encourage you to cry out today and ask God for help. Ask him to help you, ask him to carry you, be open for him to show you the truth and assurance that what you’re going through is not in vain. That It has a purpose and a reason. Today I find that purpose and reason and that is sharing my story with you. To let you know that you are not alone and that God has not abandoned me and will not abandon you no matter how dark your circumstances are. Have assurance that as a believer in God you too can come out of your struggles victorious and in full blessed assurance of His love for you!

The one thing needed in order to heal!

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this blog, because it covers a touchy subject. I just knew if I gave it the title, “The Importance of Honesty” then most people would pass by it. I didn’t want to give it that title because this blog is about much more than that. Honesty is just the beginning, but without honesty there can be no moving forward. Everyone thinks that if they are not being honesty then they are dishonest. It’s the way our society looks at everything. Black and white, right and wrong, honest or dishonest. The truth is that everyone looks at black and white differently, as I talked about in another blog. Most importantly is to know there is also a gray area. The gray area has been defined as riding the fence, tempting the Holy Spirit, living without thought to consequence. What if I give you a different perspective and let you decide for yourself? If honesty is the one ingredient needed before we can do any healing, and dishonesty is the opposite, then what is the gray area?

First, let me make clear how I view black, white and gray areas. I have lived in the black and white world most all my life. What I found was that no matter how good I was, no matter how honest I could be, or how right and perfect, I could never measure up. I could never be in the white area. You see, I am a sinner. I was born a sinner, and I will continue to be a sinner. I cannot be perfect. The only thing I can be is forgiven (Romans 3:23, John 3:16). So, if black is hell and a place that I have not confessed my sin or the stay of my sinful nature, and white is heaven the place where I am made complete, whole and righteous, then forgiven by grace for me is the gray! It’s not that I live on the fence. I live knowing I am a working progress, forgiven by God’s grace, and the ultimate goal is to refine me until I am complete and whole. I live in an area that not only sees the good and the bad, but also know that it is the heart and the motif behind why a person does what they do that matters and not a list of dos and don’ts (1 Samuel 16:7). So how does honesty fall into the black, white and gray area?

I believe complete honesty is a working progress. The reason for this is the one gray area that we are all guilty of. That gray area is called denial. The first step to any problem we face, is the denial that a problem even exists. I can say that I have had times when I truly believed with all my heart that I was in a good place, and nothing was wrong. Instead, as life happened and I became more aware of my circumstance, I could see that it was not true. Denial is not the end of the road, the black area that we cannot come back from. Denial is the gray area, the first step we all take on the road to healing. Whether trauma, fear, hard times, storms, and chaos evolve in our life to show us where are feet are planted on our road; we must first stop denying our circumstance and the impact it is having on our lives. We must stop denying that we are stuck or not on the right path. We must acknowledge whether the road we are on is headed up the mountain with honesty, growth and freedom from our circumstance. Or, we are stuck in a black and white, stagnant pond full of quicksand and mosquitos. Drowning in our shame, guilt and denial of who and what we have become. Once we can stop denying, then honesty has the power to run freely. The power to pull us up out of that sinking sand and set us on a path of true redemption and growth.

There are many reasons that we live in great denial. Shame, pride, bad coping skills, negative perspective, hurt, pain, embarrassment, stubbornness, mislead information, false teachings, or just plain old rejection of the truth. These each carry strong emotions that have the power to keep us near the pond. The most importantly thing we can do is realize the power it has on us that keeps us stuck and that there is freedom waiting for us if we can let go and move past it. Admitting you are in denial is not weakness, it is strength. Yes, it is hard and sometimes we are so consumed by emotions we cannot see that we are stuck in denial. Yet, God grace is sufficient and will carry us until we can see through the fog surrounding the pond that we are lingering at. When that glimpse of understanding comes that we are in denial, the fog clears just enough for us to see the path up the mountain. That path starts with honesty about our denial. Once we make that step to acknowledge that we have been in denial then freedom and growth can follow. The bible says John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is Jesus and what he has done for us, as well as the truth in his word. When we face hard times, if we admit we are facing hard times, then search out the truth on how to handle those hard times. Then we have the power through Jesus Christ to live free. Free from the demons that denial plagues us with, free from the consequences of sin, free to be honest about all our sorrows and mistakes.

We are all living in some state of denial. The fact that you almost denied that statement is proof! What are you denying in your life today? What truths do you need to face that will get you unstuck and give you the freedom to be honest? I am telling you, once your honest, there is no stopping the power that God can instill in you to persevere and grow you to be complete and whole! Here is a list of things you may be living in denial from and some of these things I have personally dealt with myself, so know that you are not alone.

  • Suffering, or have suffered, from Physical, emotional, mental, sexual Abuse.
  • Feel you have been neglected by those you say they love you the most.
  • Controlling Desires or lust have overtaken your life.
  • Feel as though you are in the midst of Temptations or trials.
  • What your Strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Misunderstanding of who God is.
  • Misunderstanding of what God expects of you.
  • Dealing with Addictions such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, or gambling, and you don’t have it under control.
  • Dependency on things to make you feel better, like eating, spending money, belittle others, over exercising, etc.
  • That your strong desire to help others may also be tied up with you feeling good about yourself or making yourself look good to others.
  • That you are a people pleaser.
  • That you are depressed and or anxious.
  • That you have a negative point of view.
  • That you need God or are not living as close to him as you could.
  • That you are letting the world and its enticing moments of fun control you.
  • That you are struggling and need help.

Once you face the truth and you are honest, then you can take the steps needed to heal. Without honesty you will stay where you are. What are some things that you have lived in denial over or have seen others struggle with, I would love to hear your comments and personal stories?